Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Live Desktop


Pink Floyd star to release live multi-disc album | News | NME.COM

Portrait Professional lets you airbrush away imperfections


Filed under: Photo, Utilities

Do you ever end up with a really good picture of yourself, except for maybe too much shine on your face from the flash? Or your face looks a bit more red than you would like? Of course. We all have those photos. Portrait Professional can help you touch up those little imperfections.
Anthropics Technology has recently release Version 8 of the software, which now supports Intel Macs as well as PCs. The software is relatively easy to use for basic touch-ups. You simply click five points on the face (with guided instructions) and let the software do the rest of the work.
The software works best with straight on photos of someones face. Side views are more difficult to work with and more likely to come out looking a bit off. There are special settings such as glamour, drama, face slimming and improve complexion which you can use with one click. The only thing that appeared to happen with the glamour setting was a rather awkward elongating of the neck on the photos we tried though.
It was fun to play with and change eye colors, lighten hair and turn photos to sepia tones. If you photo subject has a tendency to squint when smiling their eyes may come out looking rather like an alien but, for straight on, wide open eyed photos, the little touch-ups did improve the look.
The only complaint is that, once altered, the photos seem a little more flat. Maybe it was just the photos we used but the people looked a little more Stepford-ish in a way. They all had really good skin though!
[Thanks Christina for the photo]

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Top 10 Command Line Tools [Lifehacker Top 10]


When you need something done quickly, efficiently, and without any software overhead, the command line is where it's at. It was the first way humans told computers what to do, but as graphics became increasingly important, the command line, or terminal, became an insiders' secret weapon. But with the right commands and a little bit of know-how, anyone can get things done from a text-only interface. Let's take a look at 10 commands and tricks that make the terminal more accessible, and more powerful, on any system. Photo by blakepost.

Note: Mac OS X and Linux users have robust command line interfaces baked right into their systems. To get to them, head to Applications->Utilities->Terminal in Finder. It varies in Linux, depending on your distro and interface, but a "terminal" can usually be found in an "Accessories" or "Utilities" menu panel. Windows users are best served by installing and configuring Cygwin, a Unix emulator, which we've detailed in a three part series.

10. Customize your prompt
If you're going to spend any time at the terminal, or want to start doing so, it should be a welcoming place. To go beyond green or white on black, check out this Ask Lifehacker response, in which Gina runs through a few simple ways to change the colors, and the greeting message, on your prompt for Windows, Mac, or Linux systems.
9. Force an action with sudo !! ("bang bang")
You already know that prefixing a command with sudo makes your system execute it with superuser privileges. But when you forget to sudo, the !! or "bang bang" comes to the rescue. When you've perfectly crafted a long command that does exactly what you need, hit Enter, and d'oh—you don't have sufficient access privileges—you can sudo !! to repeat the last command with superuser privileges. It's the ultimate nerd triumph: "Oh, you didn't like that command? Well, then sudo !!"
8. Create whole directory trees with mkdir
When it comes to organizing music, pictures, documents, or other media, nested folders become a necessary annoyance—as in right-clicking, choosing "New Folder" and then naming and clicking through each of "The Beatles->White Album->Disc 1." It's far easier from the terminal, as the Codejacked blog points out:
mkdir The Beatles\White Album\Disc 1
Some terminal users have to add a \ before spaces, but you get the idea. If you're a Vista user who's just not down with Cygwin, you can still pull this off with the md tool in command line.
7. Filter huge lists with grep
Some terminal commands spit back a bit too much information, and that's where grep comes in. Need to manually kill a faltering Thunderbird? Punch in ps aux | grep bird, and you'll get back the specific number to kill. Need to know which files don't have your company name in them? grep -v DataCorp *.doc. Programmer Eric Wendelin explains grep more in-depth.
6. RTFM with man (and more)
Let's say a program, or web site, has just asked you to run a command to unlock or enable something, but you'd like to know just a little more before jumping in. Add man before the command (as in man ssh) and you'll get manual-style pages detailing how to use the command. Bit too much material to process? Try whatis for a brief description, --help after the command for basic usage, or any of these other command-line learning tools.
5. Manage processes with top
Most systems have a tool to view "tasks" or "running programs," but they usually hide the true guts of what your system's doing from you. The Hackszine blog points out that Mac and Linux users can harness the power of the built-in top command to track and kill runaway processes making your system unstable. There's also ps -aux for a single-screen, non-updating look at what's bugging your computer.
4. Master wget for powerful file-grabbing
The wget command has been around since before there was all that much stuff to actually yank from the net, but this extensible, multi-purpose tool has lots of great uses these days. You can mirror entire web sites locally, resume huge downloads on the flakiest of connections, download the same file every hour to keep tabs on a project, and do much, much more with wget. It's one of those elegantly simple tools that's only as powerful as your creativity.
3. Get way beyond system searching with find
Once again, programmer Eric Wendelin offers real-world examples of how powerful a command line tool like find can be in, well, finding files and directories that match the smallest criteria you can imagine. Want a list of every HTML file that references the hexidecimal color #FF0000 (red)? find can totally do that for you. As Wendelin points out, find, by itself, is about as convenient and powerful as a total-system searcher like Google Desktop or Quicksilver, but piped into and out of other tools like grep, it's a powerhouse. For a more pared-down look at some of find's powers, check out this tutorial at Debian/Ubuntu Tips & Tricks.
2. Set up powerful backups with rsync
You can spend a lot of money and time hunting down a perfect backup app that works with all your systems just the way you want. Or you can spend a few minutes learning the basics of rsync, the flexible, powerful command that makes one folder (on your system) look like another (where you back up). To put it simply, rsync is a cross-platform, completely free Time Machine, if you use it right. Luckily, Gina's already shown us how to do that.
1. See your most-used commands with history, make aliases for them
Once you're comfortable with the terminal and getting good use from it, you might notice some of the more useful commands require an astute memory and typo-free typing—unless you make them shorter and easier. Start off by copying and pasting this command (on one line):
history|awk '{print $2}'|awk 'BEGIN {FS="|"} {print $1}'|sort|uniq -c|sort -r
It will return a ranked list of your most commonly-entered commands using your command history—and you can start creating aliases to shorten them and make them easy to remember. Or you could search through your recently-used commands with as-you-type results for quick-fire repeats.

While these 10 commands are generic and applicable on all systems with a Unix-like terminal, Mac OS X offers a few Mac-specific tools. Here are useful command line tricks for Mac users.

We're love to have some CLI fun around here, and we know our savvier readers have tons of cool terminal hacks and tricks that are new to us. So, please—share the knowledge and spread the wealth in the comments.

Best Note-Taking Tools? [Hive Five Call For Contenders]


You've got a wealth of information pouring past your eyes and ears every day, and whether you're in school or you're just a lifetime learner, taking notes is an effective way to catalog and cement what you've learned. A simple notebook and paper used to be the only practical solution available, and while it's still an excellent option, modern note-takers can also take advantage of technology to turn their brain into a steel trap. That's why for this week's Hive Five, we want you to share your favorite note-taking tools—physical or digital. Keep reading for more details and to nominate the note-taking tool you love best.

The first round of the Hive Five voting takes place in the comments, where you nominate your favorite tool for the job. We get hundreds of comments, so to make your nomination clear, please include it at the top of your comment like so: VOTE: Note-Taking Tool Goes Here. If you don't follow this format, your vote may not be counted. To prevent tampering with the results, votes from first-time commenters may not be counted. After you've made your nomination, let us know what makes it stand out from the competition.

About the Hive Five: Our new feature series, the Hive Five, asks readers to answer the most frequently asked question we get—"Which tool is the best?" Once a week we'll put out a call for contenders looking for the best solution to a certain problem, then YOU tell us your favorite tools to get the job done. Every Thursday, we'll report back with the top five recommendations and give you a chance to vote on which is best. For an example, check out last week's Hive Five best alternative file managers.

VidtoMP3 Converts Online Video Clips to MP3 [Mp3]


YouTube, Google Video, and family is ripe with music videos whose soundtrack you'd love to add to your music collection, and can do just that. Enter a video URL and it spits back the MP3 file available for download. [via]

Portrait of Woman Revealed Beneath Van Gogh Painting

Portrait of Woman Revealed Beneath Van Gogh Painting

LiveScience Staff Wed Jul 30, 10:35 AM ET

A previously unknown portrait of a woman by Vincent van Gogh has been revealed in a high-tech look beneath another of his paintings, it was announced today.


Scientists used a new technique to peer beneath the paint of van Gogh's "Patch of Grass." Already it was known there was something there, likely a portrait of some sort. Van Gogh was known to paint over his work, perhaps as much as a third of the time.

Behind the painting, done mostly in greens and blues, is a portrait of a woman rendered in browns and reds.

The new technique is based on "synchrotron radiation induced X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy" and is said to be an improvement on X-ray radiography, which has been used to reveal concealed layers of other famous paintings. The new method measures chemicals in the pigments. Specifically, mercury and the element antimony were useful in revealing the woman's face.

The work was done by researchers at Delft University of Technology in the the Netherlands and the University of Antwerp in Belgium, along with help from other institutions.

"Patch of Grass" was painted by van Gogh in Paris in 1887 and is owned by the Kröller-Müller Museum.

The reconstruction enables art historians to understand the evolution of van Gogh's work better, the researchers said in a statement. And the new technique is expected to pave the way for research into many other concealed paintings.


Portrait of Woman Revealed Beneath Van Gogh Painting - Yahoo! News

Monday, July 28, 2008

Moonwalker reopens UFO files


Moonwalker reopens UFO files

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2008 10:02 AM by Alan Boyle


Click for video:
Moonwalker Edgar Mitchell
speaks out on UFOs.
MSNBC's Alex Witt reports.

It sounds like a publicity stunt for the "X-Files" sequel: A real-life moonwalker, Apollo 14's Edgar Mitchell, says he was told that powerful alien beings have been among us for 60 years and that government officials have been carefully covering up that fact.

Mitchell's claims have caused a huge stir in the week since they were aired on a British radio show. But upon closer inspection, what the retired astronaut said was not all that earth-shattering - or even all that new.

"I happen to be privileged enough to be in on the fact that we have been visited on this planet, and the UFO phenomenon is real, although it's been covered up by governments for quite a long time," Mitchell told Kerrang Radio host Nick Margerrison.

The way Mitchell told it, the aliens look much like the little gray men depicted in most sci-fi sagas and possess technology far superior to ours - so superior that they could have wiped us out if they chose to.

That's a view held by millions of people who believe extraterrestrials are piloting at least some of the unidentified flying objects that have been reported over the past 60 years. But the fact that the view is coming from a celebrity spaceman, who has talked with military sources supposedly in the know, invests Mitchell's pronouncements with greater authority.

Or does it?

As astronomer Phil Plait points out on his Bad Astronomy blog, just because you're a moonwalker (or a military officer, for that matter) doesn't mean you're entitled to a "get out of reality free" card. And in follow-up interviews with and BlogTalkRadio, Mitchell acknowledged that his evidence is essentially hearsay.

Mitchell emphasized that his UFO views are not based upon his personal experience as a NASA astronaut, but rather upon unofficial talks he's had with witnesses involved in the 1947 Roswell incident and other sightings. He put a lot of weight on the experience of a Navy admiral who tried to follow up on the witnesses' claims but found himself shut out from the top-secret stuff.

It's well-known that some military officials suspected there was something spooky about Roswell, even after the U.S. Air Force announced in 1997 that it had fully explained the UFO reports and was closing out its file on the subject.

The best-known believer with Pentagon credentials was retired Air Force Col. Philip Corso, who spilled what he knew (and heard from others) about the alien conspiracy in a book titled "The Day After Roswell." In a 1997 interview, Corso told me he wrote the book because one of his key sources had passed away, releasing him from a vow of silence.

Corso himself passed away a year after that interview took place, but there are surely other military sources holding onto secondhand or thirdhand secrets. So it's not so surprising that Mitchell was "privileged enough" to hear some of those secrets - and it's not so new that he's bringing them to public attention.

In the Q&A, Mitchell acknowledged that he's been trying to spread the word about UFOs for more than a decade. At one time, he was working with The Disclosure Project, but in this 2001 interview with physicist-ufologist Jack Sarfatti, Mitchell complained that the project was improperly describing him as a UFO "witness." The moonwalker said he had heard disclosures from other seemingly knowledgeable individuals, "mostly of yesteryear," but had no firsthand knowledge himself.

Mitchell stuck to that story in a Fourth of July interview with CNN's Larry King - on a UFO-themed show that made less of a splash than last week's Kerrang interview.

So why did the more recent interview spark more of a buzz?

For one thing, Mitchell played up the references to advanced technology, as well as the idea that "we would be gone by now" if the aliens had been hostile. That added some extra color to Mitchell's oft-told tales about the little gray men. For another thing, he had a bigger piece of the spotlight on Kerrang - as well as an interviewer who was deeply impressed by what the astronaut had to say. ("Wow! This is big!" Margerrison told Mitchell.) 

But the most important factor may well be something so mysterious it's worthy of an "X-Files" investigation: What makes a particular nugget of information go viral? How do you get an item picked up by BoingBoing and The Daily Mail, on Newsvine and MSNBC on cable? The truth is out there ... at least about the viral effect, if not about UFOs.

Feel free to weigh in with your comments, either on UFOs or on Internet epidemiology. And as long as we're on the subject, check out my UFO viewing tips, register your opinion in our long-running Live Vote, take our UFO quiz, click through six real-life X-Files and take on your very own search for UFOs.

Moonwalker reopens UFO files - Cosmic Log -

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Run CCleaner on a Schedule to Keep Your PC Crap-Free [Automation]


For those of you who prefer automating your computer maintenance on a schedule, the How-To Geek weblog explains how to automatically de-crapify your PC nightly. Setting it up takes little more than creating a scheduled task in the Windows Task Scheduler, but it's a great way to regularly clean out your PC with a set-it-and-forget-it routine. For more automated maintenance, check out how to set up a self-repairing hard drive.

Setup CCleaner to Automatically Run Each Night in Vista or XP [the How-To Geek]

Rush - 2112

1) 2112 (20:34)

"I lie awake, staring out at the bleakness of Megadon. City and sky become one, merging into a single plane, a vast sea of unbroken grey. The Twin Moons, just two pale orbs as they trace their way across the steely sky. I used to think I had a pretty good life here, just plugging into my machine for the day, then watching Templevision or reading a Temple Paper in the evening.

"My friend Jon always said it was nicer here than under the atmospheric domes of the Outer Planets. We have had peace since 2062, when the surviving planets were banded together under the Red Star of the Solar Federation. The less fortunate gave us a few new moons.

I believed what I was told. I thought it was a good life, I thought I was happy. Then I found something that changed it all..."

Anonymous, 2112

I. Overture (4:32)

"And the meek shall inherit the earth."

II. Temples of Syrinx (2:13)

... "The massive grey walls of the Temples rise from the heart of every Federation city. I have always been awed by them, to think that every single facet of every life is regulated and directed from within! Our books, our music, our work and play are all looked after by the benevolent wisdom of the priests..."

We've taken care of everything

The words you read

The songs you sing

The pictures that give pleasure

To your eye

One for all and all for one

Work together

Common sons

Never need to wonder

How or why

We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx

Our great computers fill the hallowed halls.

We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx

All the gifts of life are held within our walls.

Look around this world we made

Equality our stock in trade

Come and join the Brotherhood of Man

Oh what a nice contented world

Let the banners be unfurled

Hold the Red Star proudly high in hand.

We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx

Our great computers fill the hallowed halls.

We are the Priests, of the Temples of Syrinx

All the gifts of life are held within our walls.

III. Discovery (3:29)

... "Behind my beloved waterfall, in the little room that was hidden beneath the cave, I found it. I brushed away the dust of the years, and picked it up, holding it reverently in my hands. I had no idea what it might be, but it was beautiful" ...

... "I learned to lay my fingers across the wires, and to turn the keys to make them sound differently. As I struck the wires with my other hand, I produced my first harmonious sounds, and soon my own music! How different it could be from the music of the Temples! I can't wait to tell the priests about it! ..."

What can this strange device be?

When I touch it, it gives forth a sound

It's got wires that vibrate and give music

What can this thing be that I found?

See how it sings like a sad heart

And joyously screams out its pain

Sounds that build high like a mountain

Or notes that fall gently like rain.

I can't wait to share this new wonder

The people will all see its light

Let them all make their own music

The Priests praise my name on this night.

IV. Presentation (3:42)

... "In the sudden silence as I finished playing, I looked up to a circle of grim, expressionless faces. Father Brown rose to his feet, and his somnolent voice echoed throughout the silent Temple Hall." ...

... "Instead of the grateful joy that I expected, they were words of quiet rejection! Instead of praise, sullen dismissal. I watched in shock and horror as Father Brown ground my precious instrument to splinters beneath his feet..."

I know it's most unusual

To come before you so

But I've found an ancient miracle

I thought that you should know

Listen to my music

And hear what it can do

There's something here as strong as life

I know that it will reach you.

Yes, we know it's nothing new

It's just a waste of time

We have no need for ancient ways

The world is doing fine

Another toy will help destroy

The elder race of man

Forget about your silly whim

It doesn't fit the plan.

I can't believe you're saying

These things just can't be true

Our world could use this beauty

Just think what we might do.

Listen to my music

And hear what it can do

There's something here as strong as life

I know that it will reach you.

Don't annoy us further

We have our work to do.

Just think about the average

What use have they for you?

Another toy will help destroy

The elder race of man

Forget about your silly whim

It doesn't fit the plan.

V. Oracle: The Dream (2:00)

... "I guess it was a dream, but even now it all seems so vivid to me. Clearly yet I see the beckoning hand of the oracle as he stood at the summit of the staircase" ...

... "I see still the incredible beauty of the sculptured cities and the pure spirit of man revealed in the lives and works of this world. I was overwhelmed by both wonder and understanding as I saw a completely different way to life, a way that had been crushed by the Federation long ago. I saw now how meaningless life had become with the loss of all these things ..."

I wandered home though the silent streets

And fell into a fitful sleep

Escape to realms beyond the night

Dream can't you show me the light?

I stand atop a spiral stair

An oracle confronts me there

He leads me on light years away

Through astral nights, galactic days

I see the works of gifted hands

That grace this strange and wondrous land

I see the hand of man arise

With hungry mind and open eyes

They left the planet long ago

The elder race still learn and grow

Their power grows with purpose strong

To claim the home where they belong

Home, to tear the Temples down...

Home, to change..

VI. Soliloquy (2:21)

... "I have not left this cave for days now, it has become my last refuge in my total despair. I have only the music of the waterfall to comfort me now. I can no longer live under the control of the Federation, but there is no other place to go. My last hope is that with my death I may pass into the world of my dream, and know peace at last."

The sleep is still in my eyes

The dream is still in my head

I heave a sigh and sadly smile

And lie a while in bed

I wish that it might come to pass

Not fade like all my dreams

Just think of what my life might be

In a world like I have seen

I don't think I can carry on

Carry on this cold and empty life


My spirits are low in the depths of despair

My lifeblood spills over..

VII. The Grand Finale (2:14)

Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation

Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation

Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation

We have assumed control.

We have assumed control.

We have assumed control.

Rush Blog - Rush is a Band Blog: Music Videos

Rush - Snakes and Arrows Review

Artist: Rush

Release Date: May 1, 2007

Critic's Review:

When Rush issued Vapor Trails in 2002, they revealed that -- even after Neil Peart's personal tragedies in the 1990s had cast the group's future in doubt -- they were back with a vengeance. The sound was hard-hitting, direct, and extremely focused. Lyrically, Peart went right after the subject matter he was dealing with -- and it was in the aftermath of 9/11 as well, which couldn't help but influence his lyric writing. In 2004 the band issued a covers EP that was in one way a toss-off, but in another a riotous act of freewheeling joy that offered a side of the band no one had heard for 30 years. There were a couple of live offerings and a 30th anniversary project as well that kept fans happy perhaps, but broke -- though Rush in Rio was the kind of live album every band hopes to record. Snakes & Arrows represents the band's 18th studio album. Produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver, Superdrag), the record is another heavy guitar, bass, and drums...drums...and more drums record. The title came -- unconsciously according to Peart -- from a centuries-old Buddhist game of the same name about karma, and also from a play on the words of the children's game Chutes and Ladders. Its subject matter is heavy duty: faith and war. From the opening track (and first single), acoustic and electric guitars, bass hum, and Peart's crash-and-thrum urgency in the almighty riff are all present. When Geddy Lee opens his mouth, you know you are in for a ride: "Pariah dogs and wandering madmen/Barking at strangers and speaking in tongues/The ebb and flow of tidal fortune/Electrical charges are charging up the young/It's a far cry from the world we thought we'd inherit/It's a far cry from the way we thought we'd share it...." At the same time, inside the frame of the refrain, Lee refuses to be conquered in the face of chaos: "One day I feel like I'm ahead of the wheel/And the next it's rolling over me/I can get back on/I can get back on." Alex Lifeson's guitars swell and Peart's crash cymbals ride the riff and push Lee to sing above the wailing fray. Great beginning.

"Armor and Sword" contains an instrumental surprise. After an initial ride-cymbal clash, the guitar and bassline sound exactly like King Crimson playing something from Red or Larks' Tongues in Aspic. The theme is repeated on an acoustic guitar before Lee begins singing about the shadowy side of human nature brought on by the many times children are scarred in development. The boom and crackle of electric guitars and bass are all there, but so is that sense of melody that Rush have trademarked as Lee states, "...No one gets to their heaven without a fight/We hold beliefs as a consolation/A way to take us out of ourselves...." There is no screed for or against religion per se, but a stake in the claim of hope and faith as absolutely necessary to accomplish anything, hence the refrain. Peart beautifully articulates the dark side of life's undersurface; he has been writing the best lyrics of his entire career on the band's last two studio records -- only two in the last ten years. The dynamic works against the melody and Lifeson's brief but screaming solo is a fine cap on it. "Workin' Them Angels" blends the acoustic against the electrics gorgeously, and Lee sings counterpoint to the guitars. "The Larger Bowl" is one of those Rush tunes that builds and builds both lyrically and musically, beginning with only Lee's voice and Lifeson's acoustic guitar. Its shift-and-knot rhythms and spatial dynamics offer the impression -- as does the rest of the album -- that the bandmembers are playing in the same room at the same time (it happened to a lesser degree on Vapor Trails, but here the impression is constant). The sounds -- both hard and soft -- blend together wonderfully. The live feel of the record with its sonic washes and overdubbed guitars and vocals creates near chaos without loss of control. It's like teetering on the edge of an abyss with one eye on both sides of it. Song by song, the notions of tension build, taking the listener to a place where hope and faith are challenged continually, not only in the face of the entire world, but in one's personal relationships -- check "Spindrift." Echoes of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Robert Frost, Matthew Arnold, and The Odyssey are glanced upon, as is The Dhammapada in the Buddhist scriptures -- with more of a thematic than referential purpose.

Amid all this seriousness, there is a bit of humor. The instrumental track "Malignant Narcissism" references a line in the comedic film Team America: World Police from Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park fame. It comes from a line in the film that reveals how terrorists think. It's one of three absolutely stunning instrumentals; another is "The Main Monkey Business," which sounds like the closest Rush have gotten to jamming in the studio in over 20 years. Think of the intensity of 2112 with the musicianship of Vapor Trails, and you begin to get a picture: screaming guitars, deep bass thrum, soaring keyboards, and all those pop-and-boom drums from Peart's massive kit. "The Way the Wind Blows" is Rush taking on the blues in massive metallic style, and it feels more like Cream in the intro. Lee's vocal drives deep inside the lyric -- it's tense, paranoid, yet revelatory. It's about the perverse magnetism of religion and war, and how both are seemingly designed to be cause and effect: fanatical religiosity leads to war. There are different theories on this, but Peart distills them well, as if he's read (but not necessarily completely understood) René Girard's seminal work Violence and the Sacred. The album changes pace a bit with the instrumental "Hope," a largely 12-string acoustic guitar piece played off a medieval theme by Lifeson. "Faithless" is anything but. It's one of those Rush tracks where counterpoint vocals against the guitars and basslines create that unique welling of sound that occurs when the band is at its peak on-stage. The set ends with "We Hold On," a track that expresses the sum total of all the struggles life offers and holds. Here Eliot the poet is quoted directly at the end of the third verse. It's anthemic, with backmasked guitars, Peart playing actual breaks, and Lee's bass holding the chaos together with a constant pulsing throb, guiding the various knotty musical changes back to the center of the verse and refrain, which is the place where the cut just explodes in sonic fury. Snakes & Arrows is one of the tightest conceptual records the band has ever released. Musically, it is as strong as their very best material, without a lapse in texture, composition, production, musicianship, or sheer rock intensity. There are real heart and fire in this album. It was well worth waiting for. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Cygnus-X1.Net - A Tribute to Rush - Image Database: Album: Snakes & Arrows Live

Rush - Mission


Hold your fire
Keep it burning bright
Hold the flame 'til the dream ignites
A spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission
I hear their passionate music
Read the words that touch my heart
I gaze at their feverish pictures
The secrets that set them apart
When I feel the powerful visions
Their fire has made alive
I wish I had that instinct
I wish I had that drive
Spirits fly on dangerous missions
Imaginations on fire
Focused high on soaring ambitions
Consumed in a single desire
In the grip of a nameless possession
A slave to the drive of obsession
A spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission
I watch their images flicker
Bringing light to a lifeless screen
I walk through their beautiful buildings
And I wish I had their dreams
But dreams don't need to have motion
To keep their spark alive
Obsession has to have action
Pride turns on the drive
It's cold comfort
To the ones without it
To know how they struggled
How they suffered about it
If their lives were exotic and strange
They would likely have gladly exchanged them
For something a little more plain
Maybe something a little more sane
We each pay a fabulous price
For our visions of paradise
But a spirit with a vision is a dream
With a mission

Rush's old stage costumes unearthed


Ever wondered where Rush's fondly remembered satin kimono costumes (pictured below) ended up? Be honest now – you have, haven't you?

Well, now it can be revealed. Jap band Onmyo-Za have Geddy, Alex and Neil's old duds in their possession and are wearing them with plide!

(Alright, so we know these sorta outfits are de rigeur in Japan's Visual Kei scene, but give us a break, will ya?!)

Onmyo-Za have been described as a Japanese thrash-pop answer to Nightwish, and you can check them out playing their fine opus Kasha No Wadachi here.

Classic Rock

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The supercomputers of Oak Ridge National Lab


The Cray X1E at Oak Ridge National Lab's supercomputer facility is the 175th most powerful computer in the world and the No. 1 vector supercomputer on Earth.

(Credit: Daniel Terdiman/CNET

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.--If you want to see someone's face light up, try talking to ...

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